LOVE does not Hurt!

LOVE doesn’t hurt you. A person who doesn’t know how to love or who is in pain may hurt you. Be a person who loves anyway.

I love this quote (author unknown) about love and pain because it is so true. Love does not hurt. Period.

love hurts

Loving energy only produces loving feelings. Just like 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 states:  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Anything else… does not originate from loving energy. It comes from pain and fear. It comes from not knowing love. Someone who has rarely experienced kindness may not know how to be kind. Likewise, if they don’t have a history of being supported – how do they know that supporting others is an expression of love?

When we don’t experience consistent and pure loving energy as we grow, we are likely not to extend it as adults. This is evident over and over again in people who claim to love yet they engage in behavior that is very unloving. Think about it…

A parent says “I love you” and then they are demanding and critical. A child makes a connection between the two.

A parent says “I love you” and then doesn’t listen or isn’t attentive. A child believes they are related.

In this way, a child grows up to understand that love is demanding, critical, and inattentive. They don’t think twice about engaging in that behavior and expressing love at the same time. For that adult, true loving energy was scarce and consequently, remains unlearned. They will continue the pattern with the next generation unless they are able to experience true love.

True love is peaceful. It is joyful. And it is always a better choice. We are born in a natural state of knowing love and then learn otherwise. Getting back there may take a bit of work as we unplug all of the correlations that were made as we learned. One by one, it’s important to disconnect the idea that love is something other than patience, compassion, understanding, and kindness and practice how to extend loving energy under all conditions.

If it’s ‘true’ love – it will always feel good.

TTAHYou can listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

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Image by Pexels on Pixabay

#50 Window Shop

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#50

Window Shop

This term is probably on the brink of being obsolete as very few of us can identify at all with the notion of walking down a street lined with shops that promote their wares in the big front window. It was that stroll that identified the substance of Christmas lists of yesterday. Today, we ‘window shop’ by browsing through the ads injected throughout our social media accounts.

Inspiration

Window shopping can offer inspiration for a number of different areas of your life. It can inspire design when you see complementary colors positioned together. It can inspire a haircut you saw on a mannequin or it can prompt you to go home and recreate the skirt it was wearing. Window shopping can inspire you to cook more, read more, or exercise more just by glancing at the ‘message’ conveyed via the storefront display.

Motivation

Likewise, it can move beyond inspiration and sincerely motivate action to do any of the above. It can motivate you to clean house, organize, and redecorate. It can motivate you toward a goal after seeing something you would really like to have.

Patience

Window shopping can encourage and teach patience. When we only buy something once we have discerned it is the right time and the right price – we are acting in our best interest. Walking past a display two, three, or four times across a few days, weeks, or months may be just the amount of time we needed to make sure that our purchase wasn’t impulsive. A decision made after waiting and thinking is typically a better decision.

Staying Current

Window shopping is one of the ways that we can stay abreast of current trends and styles. Merchandise design is a specialty in and of itself and consequently, we are often exposed to the newest thing when we walk past a storefront – a cleverly designed space to lure you into the shop where you are welcomed to spend your money.

Reinvent

Since many of us don’t have a ‘main street’ to stroll down, window shopping can take on a whole new meaning. Certainly, we browse through the mall from time to time – that counts. We can also internet browse by scrolling through Pinterest and the sites of our favorite stores. I will sometimes open those ad emails that get stuffed in my inbox and peruse the sale items… just looking to see if there is something that commands my attention.

Yes, there can be a downside to window shopping… if you have no impulse control – don’t do it. If you lean into greediness or jealousy – don’t do it. If you are resentful or bitter about your financial situation – don’t do it. Generally speaking, it’s a pleasant way to spend a little time now and then. If you’re in the market for something, need some inspiration or motivation, or just need to connect with the times, all you have to do is…

Window shop.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#55 Bird Watch

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#55

Bird Watch

Early last summer I found myself sitting on the deck in my backyard enjoying the early morning with a cup of coffee. I noticed something yellow fluttering just outside my direct line of vision and ultimately realized that a pair of yellow finches had taken residence in the rear corner of my yard. It didn’t take long before I was mesmerized watching them move through their morning routine.

The contrast of the bright yellow against the summer green foliage was striking and I had to try and capture it. My phone wasn’t cutting it so I grabbed my more elaborate Nikon and added the telephoto lens. It essentially became a sort of binoculars and I found myself zeroing in on those finches – enthralled with their movements.

I was bird watching.

And I’m not a bird watcher.

That single experience and the deep pleasure that I experienced convinced me that there is joy in bird watching – something I never thought I’d admit. I understood that morning, what people loved about the sport – or hobby – of watching these creatures move about their environment.

I took to having my coffee on the deck more frequently and noticed a pair of woodpeckers. I had heard them of course, but had never bothered to get out there and see for myself – their pecking. I saw bluebirds and robins. My curiosity increased and I found myself on Google to try and identify the female birds too as they aren’t as colorful and I wasn’t sure which was which.

I was really bird watching – and I was loving it.

There was an unexpected pleasure in the activity even though it was so solitary and quiet – perhaps that was it. I was a voyeur into the lives of those creatures and they didn’t care at all. I found myself wondering about their habits even though animal behavior was the least of my interests when I was pursuing my psychology degree. I wondered about the casual and carefree sensation of being able to fly and move to the top of trees. I got it. There’s really no way to explain the feelings or the benefits. I accidentally learned why people pull out their binoculars and I highly recommend that you make the time to…

Bird watch.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#80 Take the Long Road

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#80

Take the Long Road

While this advice may not always be in your best interest, sometimes taking the long road offers a range of opportunities.

Taking the long road home allows you to gather your thoughts and partition work related stressors away from the energy you want to greet your family with.

Taking the long road on vacation allows you to experience the culture and ambiance of the location you are visiting in a vastly different way than a freeway or interstate does.

Taking the [figurative] long road in responding to a hurtful remark will allow you to make sure that your return comments aren’t ugly and spiteful.

Taking the [figurative] long road to consider ethical challenges will most often allow you to feel confident that your considerations were well thought out.

Taking the long road may help you bypass the frustration of traffic congestion.

Taking the long road may allow you to explore a conversation that may otherwise get interrupted. Some of the best conversations happen in a car when parties are somewhat captive.

Taking the long road may allow you to contemplate a problem or run through solutions because driving and heading home are such rote activities

Of course, taking the long road may also use more gas, put more miles on your automobile (except when using the figurative sense) and ultimately cost more money. Yet, there are times when it’s a clear advantage to…

Take the long road.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

#190 Go Fishing

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#190

Go Fishing

I thought it a good idea to share this tip before summer ends so if you are so inclined, you can make plans to give it a try. For some, fishing is an active sport, frequently practiced. For many more of us, it has yet to be enjoyed. There may be an ‘art’ to fishing but this suggestion is more aligned for those of you who wish to have the experience versus develop a talent – but hey… you may find your passion here.

Options

It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you walk into a sporting goods store and know nothing as there are a variety of ‘types’ of fishing; freshwater, deep sea, fly, surf, shore, ice, boat, rock… each one sporting an individual technique and equipment type. But for most of us, keeping it simple and basic would be a good call.

Here’s a good guide on how to get started:

 

Catching Fish

In almost every case, a fishing license is required so that’s the first step. Many of the places that sell bait also sell licenses for those over the minimum age requirement. I was always a bit squeamish about putting  worms on a hook but soon discovered that there is a tool for that (looking very much like tweezers). If you are fortunate enough to actually catch fish there are size requirements (length) for most species. Catch and release is where my interest lies even though I do love to eat fresh fish… cleaning them is an entirely different story and I’ll leave that to the people with stronger convictions than me.

Why bother?

So if you are just going through all that effort but not eating your catch, why bother? Clearly, the challenge is enticing to some… the thrill of the chase – or catch. Strengthening a technique or skill – practice – is always good. But there’s more…. The development of patience. Fishing takes patience. It fosters stillness. It promotes tolerance. It induces calm. It improves self-reliance. It heightens Vitamin D production, cardiovascular health, and may improve overall body strength (assuming you’re catching big fish). It encourages family bonding which, boosts immune functioning. It may incorporate laughter, implant fond memories, and encourage travel… more tenets of good living.

Sound worthwhile? Certainly worth a try… grab a friend or family member, do a little research, watch the video above and …

Go fishing!

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

Photo by Dieter Kühl on Unsplash

A Letter to Myself Series – Age 30

Third in the series A Letter to Myself

I remember thinking that if I hadn’t ‘made it’ by the age of 30, my opportunities would be gone. For some reason, I had developed the notion that whatever impact I was going to have on the world, would have to have begun before the age of thirty. Consequently, that particular birthday was notably difficult as I hadn’t yet influenced the world in any significant way.

I greatly admire and applaud the energy that young people step out into the world with. I am in awe of the motivation and dedication new college graduates bring to their first job and far too often I see the light get sucked out of their spirit because life does not unfold the way that was anticipated. It’s another problem with expectations that we conjure along the way… our neglect of developing realistic aspirations or the ability to combat disappointment. If we are going to have one – we must have the other.

I’d like to think there is a way to encourage tenacity so that it overshadows disappointment; to promote endurance and patience in the pursuit of those amazing visions we have in our early years. It’s also important to allow for a change of direction because not everything is what we thought it would be and/or we encounter a split in the road that calls to us more strongly. Here is what I would want my thirty-year-old self to hear and heed…

Hey Lady,

Another decade in the dust and what a whoosie it was. I’m so sorry you had to endure those hardships but hey… look at you now! It’s like life is giving you another shot. See… in some ways it’s like adulthood is just beginning for you and truly… you have no way to imagine what is in front of you! In the scope of your life – you have just started.  All the stuff behind you – well, it sucks for sure but by now you know that good things can come from bad ones so keep that front and center in your life.

I am happy to see that you’ve realized that dreams get fulfilled even when they look differently than you had imagined – it’s only the beginning of that too! What I really want you to know right now is that there is so. much. more. Have I already said that to you? It’s really important to know that every moment is to be enjoyed so try and tuck away the fact that you have time to enjoy this!

Look at what a good mom you are. Through all those challenges, you stayed focused. Good for you – that had to have been hard. See… self-compassion isn’t that difficult! I want to encourage you to learn that now instead of later in life. You are going to have more children and I won’t spoil the surprise this time but they change you – they change everything about you – for the better. We’ll talk more about that when you turn forty but for now, know that there is much to look forward to.

Going forward, you will be served well to trust your heart more. It speaks to you frequently but you aren’t listening. Learn to pay attention! Yes, your life will be hectic and there will be less time for you to sit and be still – make it! Don’t let your ‘inner self’ take a back seat. You will always be a better mother, wife, and neighbor if you take care of yourself FIRST. It’s not selfish – it’s self-care and it would be better all-around if you don’t wait another twenty years to figure it out!

Oh – and let’s talk about your body. So… you’ve developed more body acceptance, that’s great. Now you have to take care of it!! You have some bad habits that need addressing – you know what they are. Again, make those changes now instead of years down the road and even though you ‘hate’ to exercise – please. Please. Please. Do it. If there is any single change that this older version of you wants you to change now – it’s this part. I know, I know…. Everywhere you turn people are telling you to ‘get healthy’ – it’s a buzz phrase for all of the 1990’s and it would be good if you could get on the bandwagon. If you don’t – you never will and your body… well, you are not going to like it!

I know people everywhere are giving you advice and like most everyone – you really haven’t listened. Are you aware of how stubborn you are? Why do you feel you must reinvent everything you do? Why not take advantage of the lessons people in front of you have learned? This older version of you is laughing at how hard you tend to make things! EASE UP!! Chill out!! You don’t have to do it all right. Let yourself make mistakes – try new things – experiment but don’t be hard on yourself. Let go.

You don’t physically change very much in the next decade but your whole perspective on life will change – it’s all good. As I said, motherhood changes you dramatically in really special ways and you will redesign your vision of yourself – that’s good too. Go with the flow – feel the vibe – the current – and relax on it. In part – it is your instinct… your intuition… and it’s authentic so it won’t let you down. Your only trouble happens when you are bucking the flow – did you hear me?? When you are not floating on your ‘authentic current’ – you will be unhappy. You eventually figure it out – but why wait??

That guy you just met… he’s part of your life lesson. No, he’s not going to die – you will be together for a long while but he is in your life so that you can learn. It will be up to you to find the lessons; the good and hard ones. It’s his children that bless you the most.

Keep going …

Me

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Accomplishments

Continued from Finally Free

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”  ~ Edward Hale

Now that Hubby wasn’t at the house when it was his time with the girls I had the house to myself. There is a certain confusing pleasure about having every other weekend to yourself. I didn’t usually like to be in the house when the girls weren’t – it was a big house, meant for family and walking by their empty bedrooms was almost disheartening. However, being a single parent is undeniably the most difficult job I’ve ever known and so, on those weekends, I recharged – rejuvenated my energy. I did homework and spent time with friends. I was usually fielding a few phone calls from the girls, predominately the youngest one who was more dependent on me but encouraged them to turn to dad – I wanted ex-Hubby to develop his own relationships with the girls and be the dad they needed on those weekends.

This goal worked in total conflict with my ‘control’ needs and my ‘fixer’ genes… it was a true learning process to ‘let go’ on the weekends he had the kids. I had so much to learn about letting go – even though I thought I had done a lot already. I practiced opening my hands and counted on my meditation routine to help me. I wrote … and wrote… I didn’t call the writing I did ‘journaling’ back then but that’s what it was… I was just writing the thoughts that came to my mind, emptying my head onto the paper. I think I had been trying too hard to journal something specific. I found that just writing from the mental prompt of ‘I’ve been thinking about…’ or ‘I worry about…’ was most effective in parlaying what was on my mind to the paper. I often burned or shredded the words I wrote as I was a little paranoid that someone would read them. I wasn’t yet ready to experience the vulnerability associated with letting others view my internal reflections.

It’s hard to be patient and allow change to take place when we are in a hurry to ‘be better’. Sometimes it feels like a cruel Universe joke to need patience when we perfectionists are generally ‘not’ patient people. It’s often coupled with the need to remember – bring into our constant awareness – our inability to change others. And then, there’s the frustration of recognizing that even if ‘we’ make changes, the entire situation may not… leaving us needing to either make concessions or decisions.

I successfully settled my grandparent’s estate but only after addressing a lawsuit that had been initiated by Abee and Emma. Receiving that announcement in the mail was mind boggling because it created a direct conflict of interest for me. Essentially, the language of my grandparents will was unclear and ambiguous regarding the distribution of assets – whether or not Mom’s share of the estate was to be distributed to her siblings or to her direct heirs. Initially, the attorney advising me stated her siblings but the lawsuit contested that decision and I had to hire another legal opinion. Essentially my sisters were suing for a share of Mom’s share – taking money out of the mouth of their less fortunate relatives. I will never understand that motivation but in the end, I benefited because the ‘third perspective’ ruled that it was to be distributed ‘per stripes’… Mom’s share would be split among her children. It wasn’t a ton of money but it felt weird to award myself part of the estate. Our aunts and uncle were rather salty about the ruling as it diluted their distribution and frankly, with one exception – they needed it more than we did.  I’m afraid to think what my grandparents would have said / felt over that whole ordeal.  To fight it further would have just wasted more money from the already reduced estate. We paid the funds out and called it a day but not without further splintering of our extended family.

In the fall I returned to school. I loved learning about human behavior and continued to be amazed at how much about myself I was learning. In many aspects, I used my own life as an observational laboratory for the information I was acquiring; a rich environment of detailed data. I also learned to research. One of my ‘classes’ was apprenticing with a professor who was conducting studies. I chose Dr. Brown, the professor who had taught me about emoting. Her area of expertise was how environmental and socioeconomic stressors affected children. My job was to search the bowels of EBSCOHost (the academic database of research papers) to find other studies to substantiate the work we were doing and/or to find measures that we could use in our work. As strange as it sounds, I loved this job! It was a little bit like looking for puzzle pieces and finding something useful or affirming was the reward. Additionally, I would see something interesting and read, read, read. I learned to love reading journal articles about the ways we think, act, learn, etc. Learning this particular skill – research – was particularly helpful when I got to Grad school.

It was also my goal this year to make decisions about Grad school. I had several professors urging me to go on… Another suggested I forgo the graduate degree and become a Life Coach. I knew by then that counseling was the direction I wanted to go and that I would more than likely just open a private practice. My state didn’t require counselors to have any – actually none – credentials as long as they didn’t put themselves out there as ‘licensed’ and so I didn’t ‘have to’ get an advanced degree but… who would go to a therapist that wasn’t educated?? I don’t believe that most people are aware of all the different routes there are to obtain counseling certification – I certainly did not. There are several designations that allow people to eventually qualify for state licensing. First of all, most states require at least a Master’s Degree either in Psychology, Counseling, Social Work, or Mental Health. Certainly, there are also doctoral programs in each of those areas as well as the newer Psy.D. – a Doctor of Psychology (as compared to a Ph.D. which is a Doctor of Philosophy), then there are licensing exams and post grad supervision. I was still five or six years away from being able to call myself a Licensed Professional Counselor.

Since I wasn’t entering academia, a Master’s would fit all the requirements. I didn’t want to take the Social Work avenue (LCSW) although many counselors have that designation. I wanted to focus on Counseling and clinical components within the Individual, Family, and Marital arena. The only program within driving distance for me consisted entirely of night classes. Being a single mother of three made that completely impractical. Even though Sara would be leaving for college in the fall, Erin and Em still depended on me and I didn’t believe that leaving them alone for three nights every week over a two-year period was truly an option. That left me investigating newer online Universities that specialized in Psychology degrees. I left no stone unturned in understanding accreditation and the rigid standards that my state expected their counselors to complete.

In the meantime, I finished my undergraduate degree – finally – at the age of forty-seven. I wasn’t the oldest person to graduate that spring but I felt like it. I managed to leave there with a 3.8 GPA, having received only two B’s. My family celebrated with me on a scorching hot May afternoon by throwing me a surprise party (that wasn’t really a surprise thanks to someone’s well intended big mouth) and I felt accomplished and happy roughly twenty-eight months after discovery day.